Saturday, September 06, 2014

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Godzilla (1978): "The Colossus of Atlantis"

In “The Colossus of Atlantis,” a quake at sea brings the legendary lost city of Atlantis to the surface.

After the Calico is destroyed by an automated crushing machine inside the metropolis, the crew explores its new home and discovers a “time chamber.”  The crew also finds the population of the city locked in suspended animation.

A giant robot Colossus now vigilantly guards the city, and must be destroyed before the people of Atlantis can be awakened and set free.  Unfortunately, the ancient guardian has also trapped Godzilla in suspended animation too.

Brock and Dr. Quinn use the time chamber to seek an answer, but find themselves trapped in the distant past, at the very moment Atlantis first sank beneath the waves…

After several episodes that repeat a basic formula, the Hanna-Barbera Godzilla (1978) mixes things up a bit with this week’s thoroughly-enjoyable installment, “The Colossus of Atlantis.”

In short, there are enough elements in this episode to fill three entire segments of the animated series, and accordingly, the episode moves at lightning-fast speed.

Unexpectedly, we see the Calico crushed like a tin can at Atlantis, an act undone by use of the time chamber, but that’s only the beginning of the surprises.

The episode also takes the viewer back in time to the destruction of Atlantis, and reveals in the story’s climactic moments that the city is no city at all…but a spaceship.  The Atlantians (in the spirit of The Fantastic Journey [1977], perhaps…) are all aliens.

The real revelation, however, is that by traveling to Atlantis, Brock and Quinn actually become an irrevocable part of the city-ship’s history. Since they are present when the island is sunk, they must seek sanctuary in the suspended animation machinery to stay alive.  This development means they are asleep for thousands of years before they are even born, and awaiting their future crew-mates to awaken them.

With all this excitement going on, “The Colossus of Atlantis” is an inventive and smart episode that trades in some pretty clever science fiction concepts.  Where most episodes have been satisfied, thus far, to feature Godzilla slugging it out with some giant monster at a picturesque locale, “The Colossus of Atlantis” really goes for broke.  The villain, Colossus, is a machine servant that has malfunctioned, harming its creators.  This plot idea provides a nice “yang” to the yin of Atlantis’s amazing technology.

Thus far (seven episodes in), “The Colossus of Atlantis” is by far-and-away the best episode of the series.

Next episode: “The Horror of Forgotten Island.”

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